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First - let me clarify the question: I am not asking if Zombies are realistic, or if particular situations are realistic - I allow much room for creative licensing here. My question has more to do with the world and reality that has ensued in the aftermath of what happened.

To put it more precisely:

Given that we accept that the zombie apocalypse happened in a manner similar to the way it happened in The Walking Dead; is the reality faced by the survivors realistically portrayed?

Some thoughts I had about things that seem questionable:

  1. With a little exploration, wouldn't supplies be essentially unlimited? Certain supplies wouldn't - types of food - but they could be supplemented with vitamins and foods that purely provide a certain essential nutrient - e.g. beef jerky for protein.
  2. Why not get more tanks and things? These wouldn't be easy to find, but they'd be worth looking for.
  3. Failing #2; why not soup up some vehicles better - find an RV dealer, or a hummer dealer - a little work and you could mount machine guns - etc.
  4. Why not spend all free available time either building better security - or searching out more secure outposts - given some serious effort, a trap for Neagan and posse could end their troubles easily.
  5. Etc.

My thoughts might not even be good ones. In general though; it seems to be that the presented lack of resources for the survivors is overplayed - there would be many real truck depots like the Wolves hideout with many untampered food stores - more than enough to feed a group for life.

Is the reality that is a product of the undead apocalypse realistic?

closed as primarily opinion-based by DA., KutuluMike, Panther, steelersquirrel, DustinDavis Nov 25 '16 at 21:59

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  • IIRC, there was a tank in Season 1 and it turned out to be a detriment. – Johnny Bones Nov 25 '16 at 4:39
  • See this this Q on Worldbuilding. I speculate that tge zombies themselves will be a source of resources. – JDługosz Nov 25 '16 at 7:30
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Most food is perishable. Expect maybe a year of easy food, not including hoarding of food caches. But you would eventually run out without moving and hoping no one got the area first. Malnutrition will eventually be an issue.

Vitamins and medicine go bad especially quick. Even assuming just a lower efficiency after their "expiration date", that's incredibly dangerous the longer society stays fallen. Common bacteria will start to kill.

Tanks do not have gas efficient motors. No infrastructure means no tank resupply support. Same goes to hummers and other cars. And they all make too much noise. In the first season, a single car alarm echoing in the mountains attracted a horde of zombies to their camp, slowly, but enough to overrun them. A tank is grade A zombie bait.

Gas eventually goes flat. Car batteries die. Ammo does go bad, and is not easily replaced without a global infrastructure. No chemical plants, no metal refineries, means ammo is precious.

Small remote towns will have less risk but less reward, less food stocks. The real food stocks would be in large cities and suburbs, but tons of zombies around.

So yes, considering the global economy and infrastructure that all modern necessity depend on is gone, supply issues are especially realistic.

  • This is a good answer and covers a lot. Definitely an upvote. It may be the answer, but we'll see. – dgo Nov 25 '16 at 4:41
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    Kind of nitpicky but "Vitamins and medicine go bad especially quick" is incorrect. (I'm a doc.) Most last years longer than their expiration dates, in part due to how they are stored (room temperature, esp. solid, powder.) Certainly in TWD timeline, most of the meds - including antibiotics - would be fine. Only a few meds degrade into toxic compounds with time. Disclaimer: I'm not saying which, so don't take meds that are years old. – anongoodnurse Nov 25 '16 at 17:27
  • @anongoodnurse no power means no climate control, no AC, no heat. In hot humid Atlanta Georgia, the meds would not last. As to lasting longer after their expiration date, I already mentioned that the effectiveness of the meds would be lowered the longer they are out there. – cde Nov 25 '16 at 17:33
  • Meds come in sealed containers, often with silica gel for moisture control. You know, that plastic/foil thing you have to peel off the top of the bottle? And, no, I don't think climate control has much effect on it. If it was as bad as you say, meds in the south would be a lot more expensive than meds in the north because of storage problems, and people without AC would have to replace their occasional meds more frequently, which is not the case. I did UV your answer, btw. – anongoodnurse Nov 25 '16 at 17:55
  • @anongoodnurse no, because civilized society has climate control everywhere. A fridge, heater and ac in every home, power in every home. In the north we have extreme cold instead which also affects medicine. It's the lack of power that causes issues. – cde Nov 25 '16 at 18:07
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With a little exploration, wouldn't supplies be essentially unlimited? Certain supplies wouldn't - types of food - but they could be supplemented with vitamins and foods that purely provide a certain essential nutrient - e.g. beef jerky for protein.

How much food, etc was available would depend a great deal on how many people survived and for how long. It's not explicitly clear in the show, but based on things people have said, it sounds like the apocalypse hit quickly. Maybe a few months?

As cde said, a lot of the packaged food will go bad relatively quickly (especially without electricity to keep the fridges going.) Canned food will survive, and has - it seems to make up the bulk of their scavenged supplies these days. However, just because it's out there doesn't mean our heroes will be rolling in it all day long - they still have to go out and get it, which is no small feat these days.

Why not get more tanks and things? These wouldn't be easy to find, but they'd be worth looking for.

I expect they'd be easy enough to find if you know where the local military bases are, however, as was already said, they are not cheap on the gas. They also move slowly and make a LOT of noise, so trying to drive one home will bring a horde of zombies along with it. Also, if YOU know where to find them, so does everyone else who might be thinking the same thing. You might be walking directly into a fight you don't need to have, over a resource that you can honestly do just fine without.

And then you'll have to scavenge and transport the ammunition for the tank's gun, which is even bigger and heavier than other supplies you need more desperately, like food.

Finally, ask yourself: how useful is a tank - REALLY - in the zombie apocalypse?

You don't NEED a gun that big to kill zombies - in fact, firing it off will likely attract MORE zombies from miles around. Even against other survivors, you don't really need that kind of firepower unless they're entrenched behind some serious walls or they have a tank of their own. Plus, just having a tank will put a target on your backs from every rag-tag group of survivors who see you with it. They'll either want to steal the tank for themselves or they'll want to kill you just to "eliminate the threat."

Using conventional rifles or knives and blades - as they do in the show - is more effective in the long run. It's quieter vs zombies, less resource intensive while still providing enough force to get the job done, and helps you keep a low profile when dealing with other survivors.

Failing #2; why not soup up some vehicles better - find an RV dealer, or a hummer dealer - a little work and you could mount machine guns - etc.

This is certainly plausible. As to why they haven't done it in the show, well, they've spent most of their time out in the boonies, away from the city where one is likely to find such things, on account of all the zombies. But for a different group in a different location, this might be something worth doing.

Machine guns may be overkill (see tanks, above) but certainly fortifying an RV and adding spikes and stuff could be useful. Then again, our heroes have sort of done this outside AFZ anyway.

Why not spend all free available time either building better security - or searching out more secure outposts

This is, in large part, exactly what they have been doing. Searching for a good place to settle down, with good defenses and available renewable resources. They can't just BUILD a fortress - that requires metalworking, stoneworking, a whole litany of crafting skills, engineering knowledge and machinery they don't have, plus manpower and time to boot.

They had a good thing going in the prison, until the Gov tore it down and poured all sorts of zombies in. Now they've got Alexandria, which has some mighty fine walls and defensive structures, all things considered.

given some serious effort, a trap for Neagan and posse could end their troubles easily.

I don't know about "easily." I mean, this is essentially what they THOUGHT they were doing in the latter half of season 6, ambushing the facility Hilltop pointed them at. Unfortunately, Neagan's "posse" turned out to be a hell of a lot bigger than they had ever anticipated.

I wouldn't say they failed due to not taking the task seriously.

Even now, we don't know exactly how big Neagan's group is. Definitely more than 20 or 30 based on how many people they had roadblocking Hilltop. So how many do you think? 100? 1000? We have no idea how far their group stretches.

Setting "a trap" to take them all out before they know what hit them is going to be a tall order for the 20-something people left in AFZ. It's not a matter of "serious effort," it's a matter of logistics. I don't think Rick has enough people to take down the whole organization. Certainly not without first disrupting their communications network, which seems very advanced compared to everyone else we've seen so far.

  • Good rebuttals to my points - my points may not be very good though. – dgo Nov 25 '16 at 4:44
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    Wouldn't a tank work better as a zombine crushing device than a zombie shooting device? – Angew Nov 25 '16 at 8:22
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    Never mind attacking Negan. Negan demonstrated he had lots of people and resources. I want to know why Rick didn't get as far away as possible the minute Negan let them go. But I guess every level, ahem season, needs a Boss to kill at the end. – Bohemian Nov 25 '16 at 10:27
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    @Bohemian Because he took Daryl!? Rick doesn't want another death of one of his group on his conscience, so he'd rather endure Negan than condemn Daryl to die / suffer even worse torture. – F.P Nov 25 '16 at 13:00
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    @Angew I've often wondered why they don't travel in a snowplough so they could drive right through the massive herds that block their travel between towns and could possibly be used to offensively ram cars and structures. – Bohemian Nov 25 '16 at 16:48
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Given that we accept that the zombie apocalypse happened in a manner similar to the way it happened in The Walking Dead; is the reality faced by the survivors realistically portrayed?

First, we know little about the beginning of the apocalypse (Rick "wakes up" weeks after it started) so we don't know if there were enough survivors initially to deplete the non-perishable food supply. If people died quickly, there would be more non-perishables for survivors. If not, there would be less. But clearly there would be competition for what's left which would increase with time.

However, what the show doesn't portray (for dramatic tension, most likely) is the quite significant amount of food available to survivalists in nature. Also, it appears that animals were unaffected. The decrease of human competition for habitat should result in an increase of animals that can run faster than zombies.

Gasoline is unrealistically portrayed in the show. Gasoline goes bad over the course of a year (without specific additives to boost it) and you couldn't get good gasoline from stranded cars, etc. (For example, in a car's tank, about 2% of gasoline evaporates/week, with the more volatile components going first.) Without a refinery, there shouldn't be any more usable gasoline for cars and other machinery (it might still be good for other things - setting fires, maybe some explosives).

Tanks, RV's, etc. are not fuel efficient.

Self defense against a large group of evil people takes a lot of people - a large group - of even more cunning people, and survivors would tend to have a greater percentage of cunning people. However, the show doesn't thrive on the successes of the good people; it thrives on tension created by the conflict and dangers they face.

Finally, there is very little realism in the portrayal of injuries and death. Take a stab wound to the abdomen, or a gut shot. As in many television shows, writers of TWD imply in their storytelling that blood loss is the major killer in abdominal wounds, when in fact, the major killer is peritonitis and sepsis from a nick of a part of the intestines. In TWD, if they can just stem the flow of blood, most injuries are survived. This is very unrealistic. Penetrating abdominal trauma has a high mortality rate; that's why almost every case of penetrating abdominal trauma goes to the OR. Chest wounds are similarly unrealistically portrayed.

So, no, the world of TWD is not very realistically portrayed.

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